Rap Moderno Review: 4X4
Written by Staff on December 7, 2023
The makings of a good album are here, but Rei’s 4X4 is too one-note and same-sounding to achieve any impressive results.
Here’s a quick story about Rei’s 4X4. When I looked it up on Google, a piece of HDMI Matrix Switch software came up before the actual album. Turns out the company is named OREI, and the full name of the product is “Ultra HD 4×4 HDMI Matrix Switch 4K @60Hz With IR Remote.” An omen, perhaps.
4X4 is the second studio album from Argentine rapper Rei. Released on October 26th, 2023, 4X4 serves as a follow-up to 2021’s Reicing (yeah, great pun there, Rei). Rei isn’t quite as much of a veteran as a lot of his peers, but he still has a good four years of experience. And despite that two-year gap between albums, however, Rei was pretty busy during that time. He released and/or featured on nine singles during 2022, and he’s netted six more so far this year.
Only two of those songs ended up on 4X4, though: Turritta and Sin Berretín. The other six songs here were crafted specifically for the album. So at least it isn’t filled with songs I’ve heard already. And at least it’s short. Eight songs, twenty-one minutes. I can absolutely handle that. Especially considering that Rei’s 4X4 isn’t all that great. We’ll get to that. For now, just know that this album is a middling attempt at the tried and true Spanish trap formula.
Rei is easily the least interesting part of his own music, at least here. I don’t really mind his voice, and I think he usually has a decent flow, but the problem is that Rei is so one-note it ends up hurting the whole album. Do you want him to change up his cadence, or maybe experiment with some more interesting flows? Well, you aren’t gonna get it! Most of 4X4 shows Rei content with plastering a droning delivery and static flow on almost every song. I know I just said that I don’t mind Rei’s voice, but I do mind when he does very little to change it.
So on those grounds, it’s not so shocking that Rei is almost completely outclassed by the features. 4X4 has four features (on purpose, surely): Mesita on Una Tuca, YSY A on Sin Berretín, BM on Turrita, and LIT killah on Frío. And, yeah. It’s no contest. For the most part.
Mesita, oddly, doesn’t start the feature list on a strong note. He sounds just as bored as Rei does, even though he does make more of an attempt to switch up his style a little bit. Easily the weakest feature on the whole project, but hey, it’s only up from here.
YSY A completely washes Rei on Sin Berretín. Not surprising. I can kind of forgive how repetitive this track in particular is, because the beat slaps and YSY actually sounds like he wants to be there. Rei’s performance is actually pretty decent for once, but YSY’s just leagues above him. Again, not shocking.
BM has a pretty solid feature on Turrita. He has energy and shares quite a bit of it with Rei. I’d say that Turrita is one of the better songs in terms of performance anyway, so it kind of works.
And last but certainly not least, we have a feature from LIT killah. Lit and Rei have actually collaborated before, and I now think the score is one all. While I’m not all that impressed with Lit here (I’ve heard far better features from him), he still does way better than Rei. Not a terribly high bar to clear, though.
So the features are largely the best part of 4X4. Now I’ll move on to something else I think shines: the production. Most of the beats have a surprising amount of heart and energy behind them, which does, admittedly, make some of the more boring parts of this album a little more enjoyable to sit through. They aren’t varied enough to truly stand out most of the time, yes, but at least they still sound good. In a perfect world, I’d like it if the beats were on-par with the performer, but most of the time, they completely trample over Rei here. But it’s still a good thing that the beats are alright, because 4X4 would be a total dumpster fire if they weren’t. But there’s only so many ways I can explain how uninteresting Rei is.
Still, I have to give 4X4 some credit. It’s not a bad album. And I can at least see the foundations for a good time: solid production, solid features, and some concrete themes and topics to stick to. In the hands of a more talented and more varied rapper, 4X4 could be a great bite-sized record. But while Rei has a powerful engine, he doesn’t have quite enough gas to make it to the finish line. By all means, if you’re a fan of Rei and his past work, then you’ll probably like this too.
So if 4X4 isn’t a bad album, then what is it? All signs point to “boring” in this case. Nothing about these songs are offensively bad or lackluster, but a lot of them lack an identity. To tell you the truth, it’d be more interesting if this completely sucked instead. At least that would give me an excuse to talk about all the negatives. But no. 4X4 doesn’t completely suck. It’s a mostly serviceable trap album – just one with a few bursts of speed and plenty of speed bumps. I probably would have gotten more entertainment out of that Matrix Switch thing, to be honest.